Phillip Adams

Dance class with BalletLab’s Phillip Adams

Nothing like a difficult dance workshop to understand Phillip Adams's "Amplification"

BalletLab's "Amplification"/Photo Jeff Busby

BalletLab’s “Amplification”/Photo Jeff Busby

My Friday was looking good: a master class at Conduit Dance in the morning taught by Phillip Adams, the founder and artistic director of BalletLab, and a performance that night of his piece Amplification. My day couldn’t have gotten any more perfect. Turns out it was a double whammy. Not only did I get a great class, but I also got a preview of Amplification and the process and environment in which it was made.

As I entered the Conduit studio, I saw four people I didn’t know lying about in various positions on the floor, chatting quietly and warming up. I didn’t know it, but Adams was one of those people. Normally teachers will separate themselves a little, warm up by themselves or stand near the sound system. But Adams was undetectable; he was one of us.

Tall and lanky with a mostly full white beard, he wore dark blue sweats and a grey sweatshirt over a green t-shirt. Adams speaks in an upbeat Aussie accent, and he filled class with lots of anecdotes and movement directives as we went along. Unfortunately, because of the acoustics in the room I missed a lot of what he said, but I watched his body language instead and his open, relaxed and friendly personality emerged. He professed a love for teaching, and it was apparent.

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